Neural response to specific components of fearful faces in healthy and schizophrenic adults

King's College London Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 09/2009; 49(1):939-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.08.030
Source: PubMed


Perception of fearful faces is associated with functional activation of cortico-limbic structures, which has been found altered in individuals with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and major depression. The objective of this study was to isolate the brain response to the features of standardized fearful faces by incorporating principal component analysis (PCA) into the analysis of neuroimaging data of healthy volunteers and individuals with schizophrenia. At the first stage, the visual characteristics of morphed fearful facial expressions (FEEST, Young et al., 2002) were classified with PCA, which produced seven orthogonal factors, with some of them related to emotionally salient facial features (eyes, mouth, brows) and others reflecting non-salient facial features. Subsequently, these PCA-based factors were included into the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis of 63 healthy volunteers and 32 individuals with schizophrenia performing a task that involved implicit processing of FEEST stimuli. In healthy volunteers, significant neural response was found to visual characteristics of eyes, mouth or brows. In individuals with schizophrenia, PCA-based analysis enabled us to identify several significant clusters of activation that were not detected by the standard approach. These clusters were implicated in processing of visual and emotional information and were attributable to the perception of eyes and brows. PCA-based analysis could be useful in isolating brain response to salient facial features in psychiatric populations.

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    • "A recent longitudinal VBM study provided further support for links between the PHG and stress responding, based on an observed association between reports of stressful life events and GM change in the PHG (Papagni et al., 2010). On the other hand, the fusiform cortex has been implicated in the perception of emotions in facial images (Kanwisher et al., 1997; Radua et al., 2010) and, more specifically, in the association between perceived stress and human face perception (Mather et al., 2010). Psychosocial stress was also found in relation to decreased coupling between the dorsolateral PFC and fusiform cortex, both of which play important roles in flexible attentional control (Liston et al., 2009). "

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    • "These alterations might partly account for psychosis-like symptoms, as the areas of significant changes found in our analysis cover both somatosensory cortex and temporal regions, including the primary and secondary auditory cortex. Furthermore, the superior temporal gyrus has been shown to be involved in perception of emotional facial stimuli and social cognition processes (Adolphs, 2003; Radua et al., 2010), and the middle and inferior temporal gyrus are thought to subserve functions such as language and semantic memory processing, visual perception, and multimodal sensory integration. Concerning the calcarine, which covers the primary visual cortex (V1), an absence of contextual modulation within V1 was detected in patients with schizophrenia . "
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    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia has been associated with disturbances of thalamic functioning. In the light of recent evidence suggesting a significant impact of the glutamatergic system on key symptoms of schizophrenia, we assessed whether the modulation of the glutamatergic system via blockage of the NMDA-receptor might lead to changes of thalamic functional connectivity. Based on the "ketamine-model" of psychosis we investigated changes in cortico-thalamic functional connectivity by intravenous ketamine challenge during a 55 minutes resting-state scan. 30 healthy volunteers were measured with pharmacological functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) using a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover design. Functional connectivity analysis revealed significant ketamine-specific changes within the "thalamus hub network", more precisely an increase of cortico-thalamic connectivity of the somatosensory and temporal cortex. Our results indicate that changes of thalamic functioning as described for schizophrenia can be partly mimicked by NMDA-receptor blockage. This adds substantial knowledge about the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the profound changes of perception and behaviour during the application of NMDA-receptor antagonists. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of CINP.
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    • "However, recent research findings point at a converging function from a cognitive neuroscience point of view, i.e., the processing of negative emotions. The superior temporal gyrus (Radua et al., 2010; Kumfor et al., 2013), the rectal gyrus (Schoenbaum et al., 2011; Szatkowska et al., 2011) and the caudate nucleus (Kemp et al., 2013) are involved in emotion processing, particularly with regard to negative emotions as shown in studies of facial emotion perception. The structures identified as structural correlates of the vulnerability to suicidal behavior appear to be particularly involved in the processing of the punishing aspect of salient events and may thus mediate in planning behavior on the basis of negative information. "

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